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Caravan improvements


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Firstly more honesty from the manufacturers. They supply products that often will not 'fit' the user, such as 6 berth vans with miniscule payloads. Having lots of lockers you cannot legally fill is to my mind, alomost criminal. Also the fitting of equipment that is of a higher quality that the cheap plastic that is usually supplied would enable them to retain customer loyalty far better. People want a product that will do the job and last a reasonable length of time, not full of useless gizmos. One of the reasons \Hymer seem to do so well.


Also all UK makers to fit the longer EU A frame as it definitely tows far better and rear access is greatly improved.


If they did some of these things I may buy another UK van instead of EU.

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I think it is about time that the fixation with overly heavy caravans took a timely halt.

The argument that lighter materials are of a poorer quality than the heavier materials is not the case these days.

Lunar Caravans are available in all of the same configurations as the comparable heavyweights,so if Lunar can achieve it why not the other manufacturers.

This trend of heavier & heavier caravans is swelling the pockets of not only the caravan manufacturers but also is fuelling the sales of 4x4's.

Some of the move towards 4x4's is because of the figures on kerb-weights that show XYZ car is to light for the 85% guideline match for a particular caravan.I know from my own experience that the Towsafe site had 1360 kgs for my 1997 Volvo T5 CD Auto.Oh,and they also flagged up four others!!,all for the same vehicle. The car actually is 1638kgs,that was established on a weighbridge of 10kgs incremental scale and later confirmed on a VOSA Dynamic Axle Weighbridge.

At present with the new regulations on towing and the driving license requirements,beginner/newbies with a growing family and the need for a twin axle will be looking at caravanning as another load of regulations & restrictions until the necessary entitlement is achieved.Continuing to build heavier caravans is a potential own goal unless it is brought into check,and quickly.

The Explorer Group put out a large light twin axle in the guise of the Xplore 596. It was a twin axle 6berth with double dinette configuration,it had an MTPLM of 1530kgs & MiRO of 1298kgs.This gave a 240kgs payload.It was dropped before it really got off the ground,at the time that things began to go very pair-shaped in the economy.


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The problem re what you can tow is exacerbated by the poor and conflicting legislation:-


EU 80/1268/EEC -

For the purposes of this Directive, "mass of the vehicle in running order" means its total unladen mass with all tanks except the fuel tank full, the fuel tank being filled to 90 % of the capacity specified by the manufacturer, and with a set of tools and the spare wheel on board.


EU 95/48/EC - 2.6.

Mass of the vehicle with bodywork in running order, or mass of the chassis with cab if the manufacturer does not fit the bodywork (including coolant, oils, fuel, tools, spare wheel and driver) (o) (maximum and minimum):


Note the difference i.e. presence, or not, of a driver and/or 90% or 100% fuel.

Total confusion for us caravanners as the difference is about 70kgs.


So there is no DEFINITIVE i.e. legal definition.


As for heavier caravans - well I like a "substantial" feeling and ever since being introduced to a 4x4 when towing - I for one would never go back. The safety aspect is just too great. Even modern saloon cars can often be purchased with AWD and for towing this facility is a real benefit.


So as for heavier caravans "fuelling" 4x4 sales - so what? - If it means that more combinations on our roads are safer and that we have less accidents reported on the radio of "A caravan has overturned on the M (whatever) long tailbacks".......... etc etc.


The more typical 4x4's are designed to tow and therefore can do so with ease. I pretty soon realised when I started towing that most cars are not really up to the job. The extra height giving a better view of road conditions ahead is a particular benefit.


So if caravan development is going the way of more and more equipment (heavy) then a good AWD/4x4 is a sensible option when we want to get from a to b safely.


As for caravan development overall - I think the new construction technology by Bailey is a real benefit - shame they have to put the ugly plastic moulding and clear plastic sheet on the front to stop the stones denting the aluminium. The plastic moulding in particular is terrible in that it covers up a significant part of the lower awning rail such that the awning cannot be sealed that well against the cvan. Not a huge problem unless very windy or you have Houdini pets or young children. But when compared to our Wyoming - we both felt "nice concept - shame about the result". So no swap to another just yet - and we are in the market to do so.


One pet hate is the use of bendy plastic for locker catches. Really cheap and nasty. Guaranteed to split and break after a few years.


But overall - I think the use of modern CAD and materials is improving caravanning a lot. Long may it continue.


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